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Editorial Policies

Peer Review Process

Open Health Data papers are fully peer reviewed to ensure that they are accurate and that the datasets they describe meet the journal’s criteria.

The aim of the Open Health Data peer review process is to ensure that each paper correctly describes the data, and that it has been openly archived in accordance with best practices. The datasets themselves are not reviewed in terms of validity or importance. Negative results for example can be useful to other researchers, and even data with inaccuracies (known or unknown) can help others to better contextualise research conclusions.

All Open Health Data papers are peer-reviewed according to the following criteria:

paper peer review


1. The paper contents
  1. The methods section of the paper must provide sufficient detail that a reader can understand how the dataset was created, and would within reason be able to recreate it.
  2. The dataset must be correctly described.
  3. The reuse section must provide concrete and useful suggestions for reuse of the data.
  4. Any accessibility criteria must be sufficiently described, including steps needed to access the data.
data peer review2. The deposited data
  1. The repository the data is deposited in must be suitable for this subject and have a sustainability model (see our list of recommended repositories).
  2. Where applicable, the data should be deposited under an open license that permits unrestricted access (e.g. CC0, CC-BY).
  3. Where possible, the deposited data should include a version that is in an open, non-proprietary format.
  4. The deposited data must have been labelled in such a way that a third party can make sense of it (e.g. sensible column headers, descriptions in a readme text file).
  5. If the data concerns patient data it must be sufficiently anonymised and appropriate consent forms should be signed. Please see the following article for further information: Preparing raw clinical data for publication: guidance for journal editors, authors, and peer reviewers
  6. The deposited data must be actionable – i.e. if a specific script or software is needed to interpret it, this should also be archived and accessible.

Section Policies

Data papers

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

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